Sunday Sweep: A review of this week’s top national and international news

Gay activists Ivy Bottini receives a hug from Rick Watts after a press conference in West Hollywood, California, Tuesday, February 7, 2012. A Federal appeals court struck down California's ban on same-sex marriage clearing the way for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on gay marriage. Photo courtesy of MCT Campus.
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Super Bowl: Giants beat Patriots

Photo courtesy of MCT Campus.

The Giants beat the Patriots 21-17 Sunday for New York’s fourth Super Bowl title. It was the first Super Bowl with two starting quarterbacks who had both previously won MVP awards.  Eli Manning was able to put New York ahead with a nine-play, 88-yard drive.

U.S. closes embassy in Syria

The Obama administration closed the U.S. Embassy in Damascus Monday and pulled American diplomats out of Syria. The State Department had warned President Bashar Assad that it would close the embassy unless his government stepped up its protection.  The revolts in Syria began in mid-March 2011 and have continued to spread across the country.

California voter-approved ban on same sex marriage violates Constitution

A federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled Tuesday that a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution. The 2-1 decision found the ban to violate the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. The decision is expected to be appealed to either the full court or the U.S. Supreme Court.

Santorum takes three-state sweep

Rick Santorum. Photo courtesy of MCT Campus.

Rick Santorum won the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses and a nonbinding primary in Missouri Tuesday, giving Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney unexpected competition. The victories were Santorum’s first since the Jan. 3 primary in Iowa and position Santorum as the leading challenger to Romney, who placed second in Missouri and third in Minnesota.

Federal, state officials announce $25 billion mortgage settlement

The $25 billion settlement with banks regarding mortgage loan servicing and fraudulent foreclosure practices will force five of the nation’s largest banks to overhaul their mortgage-servicing practices. It will help borrowers by reducing the amount they owe on their mortgages and lowering their interest rates.

Whitney Houston dies at 48

Whitney Houston, iconic pop superstar, was found dead at the Beverly Hills Hilton Saturday.   Houston’s image had been tarnished by her battles with drugs and unstable relationship with Bobby Brown. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

Lawmakers in Greece approve another round of austerity measures

Lawmakers approved a package in a 199-74 vote that will help clear the path for eurozone finance ministers to approve the new bailout deal.  The package includes cuts in government spending, wages and pensions. As the lawmakers debated, the police turned tear gas and stun grenades on demonstrators outside Greece’s Parliament.The clashes occurred throughout the city, and 25 protesters and 40 officials were injured.

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